(CBS) — Could you be driving around with fake airbags and not know it. That’s what Cook County investigators want to know after they found two dozen counterfeit airbags at a southwest suburban auto shop.
“You look at the ones that we have here today and they’re from high-end vehicles — Lexus, Honda, Toyota. And they all look exactly spot-on,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Thursday.
But Sheriff Dart says previous testing of counterfeit airbags shows they often fail to work.
“If you have any static electricity in your car — like running your feet against the carpet and you touch it — you could set the thing off just sitting in your car,” he says.
Sometimes the counterfeit bags won’t work at all. Or they may expel shrapnel when they deploy, the sheriff said.
Stanislaw Gondek, owner of G7 Auto Diagnostics, was charged with one felony count of counterfeit trademarks. Also charged in the case was Grzegorz Lepkowski, who allegedly ordered the airbags for Gondek.
Dart says this may be the tip of an iceberg.
“There’s a strong possibility that there’s a lot more of these floating out there than people imagine,” he said.
How might you end up with a fake, probably defective airbag? If you bought your car new from a dealer you are probably fine. Click here for additional information.